The Christmas Mouse

First let me introduce a NEW Felted Creation, my Christmas Mouse! It may be way early for this post, but I sure have heard about Christmas in July a time or too, so I think I’m okay at least for today. My cute little mouse was needle felted, meaning I administered lots and lots of pokes with a barbed needle, using alpaca and wool wrapped around a fiber core. His arms are movable, his tail bendable, and he sports a Santa suit and hat complete with fur trim.

I’m also offering a class to make this cheery fellow, for those you that live in Ohio or not too far away. New classes always fill up quickly, so don’t delay registering for the Christmas Mouse Needle Felting Class.

I had a lot of fun creating this little guy, and love him even more, after reading this story of “The Christmas Mouse” by the editors of Publications International, Ltd.

The fun and laughter disappeared when the family sold this big house.

Walter Whiskers was a sad little mouse. This big house was his home. In fact, he had lived in a mouse hole in this very same house since he was a tiny mousekin himself. His little mouse hole had always been a warm, cozy place. And there was always plenty to eat — at least, up until a few months ago. Then, the family that lived here moved out.

Now there were no children in the house, no music or parties or fun anymore. And there were no good things to eat. Walter sighed, thinking how much he missed it all. Walter lived in the house with his wife, Wanda Whiskers, and their four mousekin children, Willie, Warner, Wilma, and little Winifred.

They used to be well-fed and happy, because there were always scraps of food to pick up off the kitchen floor or from under the dining room table. And there were usually delicious tidbits to be found behind the kitchen stove. But now, Walter and his family grew each day more hungry and cold. And to top it all off, Christmas was coming! What was Walter to do?

After the big house was sold, Walter Whiskers, his wife, and his poor little mousekins were left with nothing to eat.

Then, just two days before Christmas, something happened. Wanda shook Walter awake early. “What is that noise!” she exclaimed. They heard banging and shouting right outside their mouse hole door. Walter ran to the door and looked out. There were people moving into their house!

Rugs and chairs and a large green sofa were being carried into the big living room. And a huge piano was taking up one whole corner. As Walter watched, three children ran in. They were laughing and looking around excitedly. One of them said, “Oh, I’m going to love our new house!”

Walter called for his whole family to come and see the sight. Wanda and all the little mousekins were delighted to have a new family moving into their house. “Now there will be plenty of food for us, and our mouse hole will be warm again,” Walter told Wanda and the children. “It will be just like in the old days, you’ll see.”

As Walter and the mousekins watched the new family moving in, they knew there would be plenty of food and warmth to go around.

But Walter didn’t know what a terrible commotion and racket all that furniture moving would make! The whole mouse hole shook with the noise. The floor seemed to dance. And that night, there was still no food for the little mice. But the next morning, the Whiskers family woke up to heavenly smells. And there was nice, warm air coming into the mouse hole.

Today was Christmas Eve, and the new family was getting ready for its celebration. That afternoon, Walter sniffed a different smell. He peeked out of the mouse hole, and again he called Wanda and the little mousekins to come and look.

The family was putting up a huge, beautiful Christmas tree! It reached all the way to the tall ceiling. And they were decorating it with sparkling lights and balls of all colors. At the top of the tree was a gold star.

The new owners of the big house decorate the tree for a fun-filled Christmas celebration.

That night, after the children had hung up their stockings and gone to bed, Walter and his family crept out into the living room to have a look around. They saw the most amazing sight! “Look, Papa,” cried little Winifred. There, running all the way around the Christmas tree, was a tiny toy train — just their size. It had a big red-and-orange engine, with three cars — blue, green, and orange — behind it, plus a red caboose at the end.

The tracks for the train went over a bridge and around a toy mountain. Beside the train was a tiny toy village. There were trees and shops and even a mouse-size house. Walter and his family could scarcely believe their eyes. Walter said, “I know what we must do. Let’s have a Christmas party of our own!” “Oh, yes!” cried all the little mousekins.

At that, Wanda ran back into the mouse hole to get some old beads she had been saving. The mice hung the beads on a tiny tree to decorate it. They were of beautiful colors and looked like shiny balls on the little tree.

Then Willie remembered some apple seeds he had. The mousekins strung them together to make more decorations for the tree. Wanda even cut a scrap of gold paper in the shape of a tiny star to put on top. Now they had their very own Christmas tree!

Then Walter went into the dining room where the family had eaten its Christmas Eve dinner. He gathered crumbs from beneath the table. There were bits of delicious cheese, scraps of tasty bread, and even tiny morsels of cake. What a feast the Whiskers family had!

Walter Whiskers and the moueskins just knew the train would be a perfect fit — so, they hopped aboard for a ride!

Finally, Walter said, “We must have one last treat to celebrate our good fortune. We will all take a ride on the train. And I will be the engineer.” So Walter climbed up into the train’s engine, while Wanda and the little mousekins piled into the cars behind. Willie insisted on sitting in the caboose. And they rode all the way ’round and ’round the Christmas tree!

Finally, Walter said, “It is time for all you little mousekins to be in bed. We have had the best Christmas celebration ever!” “Oh, yes, Papa!” cried Willie and Warner and Wilma and Winifred.

Next morning, the children of the house ran downstairs to see their stockings. They looked at the train and toy village. The tiny tree had Christmas decorations on it. And there were small crumbs scattered around. Little paw prints led to the train.

Their father smiled and said, “It looks as if someone else enjoyed our Christmas, too. Why, I believe we have our very own Christmas mouse!”

On Christmas Day, the family was happy to discover that the Christmas mouse had been there.

Deep inside his mouse hole, Walter Whiskers smiled. He was thinking of last night’s Christmas treat and of the many wonderful Christmases to come.

See original post here.

Purchase my Christmas Mouse here!

The Best Christmas Present Ever

I hope you will indulge me with tolerance for sharing some family photos.  This was
The Best Christmas Present Ever!

Charles, Zavier, Anna, Leila, Keandre’ Marlow, Clayton Petty, Rachael Danals, Adam Petty, Abby Petty, Aaron Petty

Four children and four grandchildren organized and pulled-off surprising my husband and I by having a family photo taken.

I was nearly in tears when I opened the large, but very lightweight box, filled with mostly tissue paper and then a large envelope filled with family photos.

 Little Clayton had said “cheese” one too many times.  Nothing like the honesty of a child when they have reached their limit!

It had probably been ten years since we had had a family photo taken.  I was so touched by the thoughtfulness of this gift.  We just never know what our children are capable of.

  Thank you kids!

Needle Felting in Christmas Cookie Cutters

Nervous as I might have been about whether I am teacher material or not, the first of our Fiber Art Classes here at our NEW farm and fiber studio, was a fun one!

Christmas Needle Felting

Everyone seemed to have a good time …

Christmas Needle Felting Class - Mittens

… learned something new …

Christmas Needle Felting Class

… and went away with some completed, needle felted Christmas items!

Christmas Needle Felting Class - Ornament

Needle felting with a cookie cutter is a fun, and easy way to create flat shapes that can then be used for embellishments on other felted projects such as a journal cover or purse, or sewing projects, or onto a sweater, T-shirt or a jean jacket.

Christmas Needle Felting Class

They could be used to make a necklace, a pair of earrings, or a key chain.  Attach a ribbon or embroidery floss and hang them on your Christmas tree, or give as a gift, or use as a decoration on packages.

Christmas Needle Felting Class - Gingerbread Boys

Using a cookie cutter saves you from having to create a template for your shapes. It is an easy way to guide your needle while you felt.  There are felting molds on the market created specifically for needle felting, but if you have a variety of cookie cutters stored away you might as well try your hand at cookie cutter felting. The molds that you purchase are made of plastic, so if you have plastic cookie cutters try those first, if your cookie cutters are metal, take care near the edges so as not to break your felting needle.

Christmas Needle Felting

Step-by-Step Directions

  1. Place the cookie cutter on the foam work surface.
  2. Lay roving inside the cutter so it fills the total shape. You can make a thicker shape by utilizing more roving, or a thinner shape by utilizing less roving.  Be sure you don’t have empty spots.
  3. With the cookie cutter in place, use the felting needle and begin jabbing the fiber, paying particular focus to edges and points. Be sure to hold the needle straight up and down, or it may break, and keep your fingers out of the way.  These needles are extremely sharp!   Felting sticks, or chopsticks from your favorite Japanese restaurant, are very helpful to hold the fiber down while you poke.  You will poke your fingers less by getting used to using these.
  4. Turn the felt over occasionally so it does not stick to the foam.
  5. You will see the fibers gradually compressing into felt.
  6. If any areas are too thin, add more roving and continue felting that region with the needle until the new roving is blended in.
  7. Continue felting with the needle until it holds together and becomes firm.  The degree of firmness is determined by how long you felt the piece.  The more you felt, the firmer it will be.
  8. Remove the cookie cutter and gently detach the felted shape from the foam.
  9. If the edges look ragged, felt around the edges until the shape looks smooth and finished.
  10. Your shape is now ready to attach to any project. You can also add embellishments, or embroider your shape with embroidery floss, beads, sequins, or charms.

Below were the books I had in class that had lots of great ideas in them.

 

We also covered how to felt a ball, and make it into a flower.

Christmas Needle Felting Class - Flowers

For larger balls, stuff a panty hose with loose fiber or batting, tie it at the top and cut off the excess hose.

Christmas Needle Felting Class - Felted Balls

Wrap the ball with rovings, overlapping, and wrapping different directions making sure to cover all bare spots and tacking in place with your felting needle as you go.  Decorate with colored rovings, and other bits of fiber or yarn.  Begin the felting process as described above.

Felted Alpaca Ball OrnamentI

Be sure to see our Alpaca Wool Roving Sampler in Christmas colors!

Holiday Hours at The Farm

We will kick off the holiday season, Saturday, November 26th with extended hours from 12pm – 5pm here at the farm.

 

Give a gift just a little out of the ordinary… something handmade perhaps…something made from alpaca!  Visit the farm and see the alpacas that produce this wonderful fiber.  Get your hands on some of the incredibly soft and warm items made from this luxurious fiber.  Give a gift that has value Shop for …

Blankets

Hats

Scarves

Socks

Texting Mittens

Gloves

Children’s Hats

Baby Booties

Headbands

Eye Glass Cases

Cell Phone & Ipod Cases

Christmas Ornaments

Many Handmade Alpaca Items


See our beautiful NEW alpaca blankets!  Pick up alpaca socks for Christmas gift giving, hats, scarves, mittens, gloves and many handmade alpaca items …

Get your hands on some alpaca fiber!  Luxurious, versatile, soft, warm, strong, resilient, natural and hypoallergenic, alpaca fiber offers many advantages and is considered by many to be the “miracle fiber”.   Once you get your hands on it, you will immediately understand the intrinsic value of everything produced from this fiber.

Alpaca Rovings for Spinning at Alpaca Meadows

Check out our brand NEW Fiber Studio full of gorgeous alpaca yarn and fiber, patterns, and fiber art kits.

Alpaca Meadows Farm Store

This will kick off our monthly Just Sit-n-Knit or Crochet or Spin on the second Saturday of the month.  Bring your knitting, crocheting, spinning, or whatever Christmas project you are working on.  Hang out with friends, relax, enjoy Christmas music, hot chocolate, and holiday refreshments!

Shop The Farm Store … Online, Open Anytime!

Did you know?

Archaeologists have discovered a great deal of alpaca fiber goods from graves and religious sites predating the Inca Empire
in South America, a true testament to the durability of alpaca fiber and its long history.

Rustic Birch Bark Ornament

I found a great tutorial by Cariboo Butterfly Crafts and Designs to make these pretty ornaments made from the bark of birch trees.  Thank you Jen Webster, my new friend in British Columbia, for sharing how she makes these …

Rustic Birch Bark Tree Ornament

Rustic Birch Bark Ornaments

Have you ever wondered why the birch tree is so strangely marked?  I found an interesting story called the Birch Tree’s Bark Story on the Boy Scout Trail website, makes sense…

Little Trees

I just ran across a pattern for these cute Little Trees!

Little Trees

It is a pattern designed by Kala Hotakainen and it is FREE!  Kala says this pattern is worked in an easy spiral holding two yarns together, the Little Trees are super easy and super quick to crochet. You can check out Kala’s Blog that she calls Vegancraftastic for more of her designs.

These Little Trees reminded me of making Christmas Trees out of old Sears Catalogs years ago.  Anybody else do this?  I actually found instructions for Making Christmas Trees Out Of Magazines… it is  a fun craft for kids and a great way to use those old catalogs.

I love the Legends of Christmas and the symbolism attached to different Christmas icons, such as the Candy Cane, Mistletoe, Santa Claus and many others.

There are many Christmas Tree Legends.  One of them holds that Martin Luther, a founder of the Protestant faith, was walking through the forest one Christmas Eve. As he walked he was awed by the beauty of millions of stars glimmering through the branches of the evergreen trees. So taken was he by this beautiful sight that he cut a small tree and took it home to his family. To recreate that same starlight beauty he saw in the wood, he placed candles on all its branches.

Christmas Traditions and Family Traditions at Christmas are an important part of Christmas. Since our kids were little, no one comes downstairs until a picture is taken of the three of them in their pajamas at the top of the stairs.  They don’t all live at home anymore, and they don’t fit quite as well as when they were little, and sometimes they still grumble, but they cooperate.  They also like to look back at these stairway pictures from years past!

Christmas Morning Stairway Picture

Thinking that the present were what makes Christmas my daughter’s favorite holiday, I asked her what she liked best about it.  She surprised me and said, “the warm and cozy way the house feels at Christmas time”.  This makes it work it to me to haul out those decorations year after year!

What traditions does your family celebrate at Christmas?



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